Remember Lot’s Wife
Robert Wurtz II
Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32)
The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:23-26).
The purpose of this article is to remind ourselves of the timeless truth that God’s attitude towards sin and abomination has not changed despite the relentless battery of messages that bombard our minds from every direction every day. The enemy is working overtime to turn our minds against God and he has many clever tactics in his arsenal. He is beguiling this generation and we must focus our minds on God’s clearly declared word if we are to keep ourselves from falling victim to his constant attempts at brainwashing us.
Sodom and the cities of the plain reached a level of wickedness not known on the earth since that which caused the flood in Genesis 6. So wicked were the men of the city that they rejected Lot’s virgin daughters in order to have relations (know carnally) with the men (angels) whom God had sent to rescue Lot before He destroyed the city (Genesis 19:5). After being blinded by the angels, they wore themselves out groping for the door (Genesis 19:11 ESV). It’s an example of sin so entrenched that no judgment can dissuade or dislodge it. God provided His commentary on this shocking event in Ezekiel 16:50-51:
Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit (Ezekiel 16:50-51).
The Sin of Sodom
God lists first that which is most a stench in His nostrils, pride. This sin of Satan (the Devil) led to the great rebellion in Heaven and the primary reason he was cast out (1 Timothy 3:6). It is the sin for which he never makes a person feel guilty; therefore, only the light of God’s word and the Holy Spirit’s dealing will convict it. Second, plenty of food and a lifestyle of idleness. These two conditions provided the fertile ground for the fruit of selfishness and wickedness to multiply.
Thirdly, they committed abominations and were proud of their sin. They filled their cup of iniquity to the brim — as God mercifully waited for them to repent of their vile ways. He knew they had no Bible or prophet, so it seems plausible that He extended His mercy for that reason (Matthew 11:23). Nevertheless, as their iniquity reached heaven and the cup spilled over (Genesis 15:14-16), God poured a deluge of fire and sulfur upon them from His Heavenly throne to deal decisively with them as He dealt with their father the Devil, and his angels (See Psalm 11:6, Ezekiel 38:22). Bear in mind that Sodom’s judgment was merely a foretaste of the Hell that God created for the wicked-rebellious (Matthew 25:41).
Remember Lot’s Wife
Speaking of eschatological (end time) events, Jesus said, “remember Lot’s wife.” This is the woman who notoriously turned back to see Sodom being destroyed and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). First-century writers Josephus and Clement of Rome claimed to have seen this pillar, and a century later Irenaeus claimed to see it, too.
Some Jewish commentators suggest that she looked back with a “secret longing.” The verb for “looked” in both the Hebrew MT and the Greek LXX speaks of looking intently with favor, respect, pity, or kindness. The fact that she lingered behind demonstrates a reluctance to leave and an affinity towards the city and all that it represents. Whereas she should have fled the city in fear for her life, she looked back in such a way that warranted her destruction. In other words, it was not an incidental glance backward.
A Salt Monument as a Warning
We don’t know why Lot and his wife moved to Sodom. It’s a mystery why they stayed there after they were taken captive. But, for all of the compromises before, they were forced to leave this city and expressly warned not to look back. Lot received only one warning. There were only two options, obey and be saved or disobey and be destroyed. There was never a third option. This is instructive because many are searching for a third option when there are only two (obey or disobey).
It is sobering to know that Lot’s wife was “almost saved.” She was destroyed with salvation within her reach. All she had to do was obey God this one time, and she would be saved. Like many today, she wanted to be saved from judgment but not sin. She didn’t renounce her associations with Sodom, so she turned back to look.
Mr. Facing Both Ways
Contrary wise, Lot, being a just man, had the good sense to know that God was serious and that the proverbial “Mr. Facing Both Ways” attitude was not an option on this particular day. He couldn’t influence his wife to do the right thing, nor could he control her in that pivotal moment. The result? God judged her so that her body became a monument of salt and lasted for thousands of years. Passers-by saw God’s estimate of sympathizing “with” or longing “for” this present evil world with its sins and abominations.
What did she do? Leonard Ravenhill said she defied God with judgment swirling over her head. She secretly sided with the sinners of Sodom against God all along. She disapproved of God’s good and perfect will (Romans 12:2b). When the men tried to beat her door down to have sexual relations with the men (angels), she knew that the behavior was wicked, unnatural, and utterly depraved. She may have agreed with the behavior.
Remembering Lot’s Wife in Modern Times
Luke chapter 17 deals with end-time events and behaviors that will characterize the last days. Before the latter half of the 20th century, abominations were not “business as usual.” In Jeremiah 6:15, God challenged the people because they couldn’t blush when they sinned. In the early part of the 21st century, not only are sinners unashamed, but it’s business as usual. The world celebrates wickedness and abominations, and they do it with “pride.”
Jesus basically said that people will increasingly side with the world against their Creator in the latter times. Remember Lot’s wife! If you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. (1 John 2:15) No one can serve two masters. Think about her attitude and consider how her life ended. Unfortunately, we see the same patterns today. Emboldened by doctrines of devils, people exhibit what I call the “the spirit of Lot’s Wife.” These people defend wickedness and abomination in opposition to God’s warnings. They are friends of the world and protect their friends against the teaching and preaching of God’s word.
The result is a prevailing view that God doesn’t care that people commit abominations. It’s like saying, “I know you are in gross immorality, but God understands and loves you just like you are.” This idea is both false and misleading. We come to God as we are with the understanding that we must turn from all known sins. We must repent of the abominations and damnable sins found in Paul’s vice lists (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-7).